Cheney expresses US interest in Caspian region

US Vice-President Dick Cheney met with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev and later said that the US has a "deep and abiding interest" in the Caspian region's stability and security.

Sep 5th, 2008

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 5 -- US Vice-President Dick Cheney met with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev and later said that the US has a "deep and abiding interest" in the Caspian region's stability and security.

Cheney's 1-day visit to Baku followed hostilities between Russia and Georgia, which raised concerns over the security of trans-Caucasus oil and gas pipelines that deliver oil and gas from Azerbaijan to western markets.

Coinciding with Cheney's visit to the region, Kazakhstan said it would not drop the Caucasus as an export route for its oil despite regional tensions caused by the conflict between Georgia and Russia.

KazMunaiGaz CEO Kairgeldy Kabyldin, who confirmed his country has resumed shipments of crude via rail to Georgia's Black Sea port of Batumi, said such trade is vital for regional security and stability.

"I believe that the increased transit of oil from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, from Azerbaijan to Georgia can become a stabilizing factor for the region," Kabyldin said. "Involvement of foreign and Kazakh companies (in the region) will help reach agreements on stability and security in the region more quickly."

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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